Saying he was "not at all proud," Bulls executive John Paxson apologized Tuesday to the organization and newly fired coach Vinny Del Negro for their late-season altercation but also made it clear he plans to stick around.
General manager Gar Forman insisted the postgame altercation March 30 in a dispute over Joakim Noah's playing time played no part in Del Negro's firing, that the Bulls simply needed a change "to take this team to another level" after Del Negro led them to a 41-41 record and a first-round playoff exit in each of his two seasons.
•The Thunder exercised a team option on NBA coach of the year Scott Brooks that will keep him in Oklahoma City through 2012. … Avery Johnson and Dwane Casey interviewed for the Hornets' coaching vacancy. … Tayshaun Prince, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Jeff Green were added to the pool for the 2010-12 U.S. national team. … Warriors guard Kelenna Azubuike exercised a player option for 2010-11. ... The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Orlando's new arena.